Diagnosis

Your doctor will likely be able to determine whether you have seborrheic dermatitis by examining your skin. He or she may scrape off skin cells for examination (biopsy) to rule out conditions with symptoms similar to seborrheic dermatitis, including:

  • Psoriasis. This disorder also causes dandruff and red skin covered with flakes and scales. With psoriasis, usually you'll have more scales, and they'll be silvery white.
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema). This skin reaction causes itchy, inflamed skin in the folds of the elbows, on the backs of the knees or on the front of the neck. It often recurs.
  • Tinea versicolor. This rash appears on the trunk but usually isn't red like seborrheic dermatitis patches.
  • Rosacea. This condition usually occurs on the face and has very little scaliness.
July 11, 2017
References
  1. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2017.
  2. Clark GW, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. American Family Physician. 2015;91:185.
  3. Pizzorno JE, et al. Seborrheic dermatitis. In: Textbook of Natural Medicine. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2013. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 3, 2017.
  4. Sasseville D. Seborrheic dermatitis in adolescents and adults. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 3, 2017.
  5. Dandruff: How to treat. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-and-scalp-problems/dandruff-how-to-treat. Accessed April 3, 2017.
  6. Ramos-e-Silva M, et al. Red face revisited: Endogenous dermatitis in the form of atopic dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis. Clinics in Dermatology. 2014;32:109.
  7. Dessinioti C, et al. Seborrheic dermatitis: Etiology, risk factors and treatments: Facts and controversies. Clinics in Dermatology. 2013;31:343.
  8. AskMayoExpert. Seborrheic dermatitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  9. Public health advisory: Elidel (pimecrolimus) cream and Protopic (tacrolimus) cream. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm153941.htm. Accessed April 3, 2017.
  10. Okokon EO, et al. Topical antifungals for seborrhoeic dermatitis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008138.pub3/full. Accessed April 3, 2017.
  11. Ferri FF. Seborrheic dermatitis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 4, 2017.
  12. Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Dermatologic disorders. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2017. 56th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2017. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed April 4, 2017.
  13. Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Seborrheic dermatitis. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed April 4, 2017.